David Parkin on the demise of Filmore & Union and busking success

David Parkin on the demise of Filmore & Union and busking success

FAREWELL then Filmore & Union. The cafe chain, which has expanded rapidly across the North of England, disappeared even quicker, going into administration last Friday. Around 80 jobs were lost after joint administrators Phil Pierce and Paul Whitwam of FRP Advisory closed seven outlets including those in Harrogate, Skipton and York as well as the head office in Wetherby. However they concluded a pre-pack deal to save around 150 jobs with the sale of nine sites and the production kitchen in Wetherby to Coffeesmiths Collective. It looks likely that the Filmore & Union brand will survive given that the new owner is a US group which calls itself “a family of specialty coffee shops and coffee companies based in the United States and the United Kingdom”. Its strategy is both to roll out its own outlets under the flagship Department of Coffee & Social Affairs brand and to acquire others, which in the UK include La Bottega Milanese, Cafe2U, Bea’s of Bloomsbury and, most recently, picking up the Baker & Spice chain in London after the collapse of Patisserie Valerie. Its coffee shops in the US operate under some memorable names including Dollop, The Wormhole, Halfwit Coffee Roasters and Chicago Grind. I’m not sure I’d be a regular at that last one, it would put me right off my sticky bun. So Filmore & Union lives on, although the Harrogate crowd – businessmen in body warmers and red trousers and yummy mummies in sports gear and Range Rovers – will have to find somewhere else to get their skinny lattes and gluten free granola as both outlets in the...

David Parkin on a corner of Yorkshire in London, the tears of a clown and celebrity gossip

THE big news of the week comes from the Chelsea Flower Show…where Welcome to Yorkshire’s commercial director Peter Dodd was pictured wearing a tie for the first time in living memory. I thought Peter wouldn’t even wear a tie to a wedding. Given he has been lobbying me to get hitched for some time, may be I’ll get to find out one day. The actual big news was that Welcome to Yorkshire’s garden at the annual Chelsea Flower Show was awarded a gold medal and received thousands of visitors including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (despite her designing a rival garden at the blue riband show), Joan Collins and Philip Schofield. I think the Krankies tried to get a photo standing on the lock gates but security managed to stop them. Since Welcome to Yorkshire first went to Chelsea a decade ago its gardens have won plaudits and medals every year so another gong this year is no surprise. But it is a welcome shot of good news for the tourism organisation after a tough few months in which its long-serving chief executive Sir Gary Verity resigned amid accusations of bullying and misuse of expenses. Welcome to Yorkshire has set up two independent inquiries into the allegations and while many people have been supportive of the organisation, there has been something of a feeding frenzy by those who either have a beef with it or its former boss. If nothing else, the success of Welcome to Yorkshire’s garden at Chelsea gives the lie to the half-baked claims of some that the tourism body is just about cycling. If...
David Parkin on a winning combination, the earthy reality of football and finding Lord Lucan

David Parkin on a winning combination, the earthy reality of football and finding Lord Lucan

THE first race meeting of the year at York is always my favourite. The Dante meeting in mid May is a highlight for its high quality racing. It is busy but never the bunfight you have during the Ebor Festival in August so you can achieve some quality networking. Throw in the warm, sunny weather this week and I bet the Knavesmire has looked serene. I’m guessing of course, because I’ve not been at York Races this week as I’ve been working. The closest I got was compering an export seminar at an accountants offices in Monks Cross yesterday. I know you have got some sympathy for my plight and, I agree, I really need to sort my priorities out. So in the meantime it was lovely to receive an invitation from long-time contact and friend Mandy Taylor. Mandy is a very successful charity fundraiser and consummate networker who I first met at Huddersfield Town. She is currently working with Leeds Italian restaurant Bibis and is behind an event that the city dining institution is holding to raise money for the Maggie’s Yorkshire cancer charity. Bibis Italianissimo is holding a Royal Ascot Ladies Day event next month, bringing “an Italian touch to a quintessentially English event”. On Thursday, June 20th Bibis promises to bring the fun, finesse, glitz and glamour of Royal Ascot to Leeds. Fun, finesses, glitz and glamour – I suppose that’s why I’ve been invited. It’s amazing how much you can fit in to a small package. Leave it, dear. Guests are invited to Bibis for prosecco and canapes before taking a seat and enjoying a...
David Parkin on blowing your own horn and retail rot

David Parkin on blowing your own horn and retail rot

NO there won’t be a caption competition for the photograph above. When I was a journalist we used to love having an unusual picture to accompany the story. When you are one of the subjects in the photo and the photographer has just handed you a horn and told you to smile at the camera, then you are probably entitled to some doubts. But Simon Dewhurst is a talented and very likeable individual who I have known for many years and we were taking the photograph at last night’s Lord’s Taverners Balloon Debate which raised thousands of pounds for a very worthy charity. And the horn is a vital part of the Balloon Debate – my colleague Liz Theakston times the speeches of each of the four speakers and honks it with gusto when they reach their time limit. Given guests were arriving at the venue at New Dock Hall at the Royal Armouries just when we were doing the photos, I got a bit of gip from off camera. “Ooh, I can’t wait to suggest a caption for that,” said Jason Taylor of Orchard Facilities Management. I got my own back during my introduction on stage when I warned our speakers that Jason is fond of a selfie with celebrities – and put up the photo of him with a scowling Roy Keane that I used in my blog a few weeks ago. One of the biggest challenges for a charity event is for it to capture the attention and hearts of attendees. Lord’s Taverners Yorkshire chairman Jeremy Thomas, a corporate financier at Deloitte, did that with a...
David Parkin on the legacy of a local hero and feeling like a million dollars

David Parkin on the legacy of a local hero and feeling like a million dollars

FAREWELL then Keith Tate. I read a short obituary in the Yorkshire Post a couple of weeks ago about a boxing trainer I met 30 years ago and memories came flooding back. When I was a teenage student at Huddersfield Polytechnic (it turned into a university just in time for me to collect my degree) I fancied myself as a bit of a boxer. With a grandfather who boxed in the final of the 1932 ABA Championships and went on to become European Police Middleweight Champion in 1937, I believed I had something of a pugilistic pedigree. So off I went to Dewsbury Amateur Boxing Club – two temporary buildings next to the railway station in the town at the centre of the Heavy Woollen District. The club was run by Keith Tate, a stocky flat-nosed one-time flyweight boxer who won numerous amateur titles and defeated future world lightweight champion Ken Buchanan before turning professional as a bantamweight. But it was as a trainer of amateur boxers that Keith really made his name, establishing the Cleckheaton Boxing Academy in 1975 and running it alongside his wife Sally for 40 years. Keith’s gyms produced a host of national boxing champions as amateurs and many went on to great success as professionals including  the British super featherweight Gary ‘Five Star’ Sykes and three world champions, Mark ‘Hobbo’ Hobson, ‘Super’ Steven Conway and James ‘Roberttown Rocket’ Hare who was an upcoming schoolboy boxer when I used to train at Keith’s gym. Well I say train, Keith used to get me to skip in a corner after a couple of unsuccessful sparring sessions....